The Need for Names

Another example of overproduction to add to those already recognized is that of stratigraphic names. Rock strata are named to aid in the study of earth history and in their exploitation for human use. Either purpose may require giving a handle to any bed or part of a bed, however small, that differs from any other in character, quality, or stratigraphic position. The industrialist demands a name for each 2-foot coal bed or 18-inch ore bed that he may be mining. He gets little or no help from a geologic report that deals only with thick formations of varied character. The “Shenandoah limestone” of early folios, thousands of feet thick and outcropping over wide areas, had little or no interest for him until geologists recognized, mapped, and described three thin, pure limestones occurring in the midst of that formation which were used by the lime and . . .

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